Why we’ve chosen the Algarve for our Inaugural Coworking Retreat
You have probably heard about the Algarve, the southernmost region in Portugal. Maybe a friend told you about it’s incredible beaches with soft sand and breathtaking cliffs, or perhaps someone mentioned the famous chicken piri-piri, 0r the popular holiday resorts! But there is an Algarve that you haven’t seen or explored before, and that is the Algarve that the local people know and love.
Our inaugural coworking retreat Offsite Immersive will take place in Guia, a civil parish in the Algarve, 5km away from the Atlantic Ocean. This location was not chosen by chance, but precisely because there is an alternative Algarve, the one that goes against the flow, the one that preserved old flavours of the past, the one we want you to know about!
There are over 100 beaches and over 200km of coastline with different landscapes like cliffs, islands, lagoons and endless sandy beaches. Some of these are only accessible to those who know their way! The sea is welcoming to surfers, divers, fisherman and sailors who like the warm and clear waters.
Along the coast traditional fisherman villages can still be found. Men go out to the sea at night on their fishing boats facing the wide ocean and return in the early hours with their catches. During the day their small boats float onshore creating a beautiful and enchanting scene.
Culture & History
There are monuments, century-old costumes, crafts, architecture, all of which which are a living heritage of what other cultures created before our time. Arabs, Lusitanians, Romans, Greeks and other cultures as far as the Neolithic period passed through the Algarve and built a rich culture that we can enjoy today!
The symbol of the region is the chimney, which goes back to the five centuries of Islamic occupation. The traditional house is mostly whitewashed, with some yellows or blues, bright floral and geometrical patterns on the facades.
Food & Wine
If there’s one thing the locals are proud off is their gastronomy and wine. Locals gather all that’s best at sea and land like fresh fish and shellfish, almonds, figs, oranges and other fresh produce from local markets to create simple delicious dishes. Famous wines from DOC local sub-regions of Portimão, Lagoa and Tavira accompany the flavorsome dishes.
Fresh local produce with beautiful aromas are at display in numerous markets across the region. One of the most popular ones is Mercado de Olhão, famous for it’s offer of fresh fish and seafood brought in by the fisherman in the early hours of the day.
The Algarve is home of some of the most beautiful nationally protected natural reserves such as Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina, where the eastern and southern coasts meet. An abundance of greenery and wild fauna can be explored through numerous walking trails and footpaths. There are many corners still undiscovered between hills and flat landscapes, and many rural towns worth visiting.
The Algarve is mostly known for it’s golf courses but the strong winds coming off the Atlantic Ocean make the most south-westerly point of Europe ideal for surfing, body-boarding, paragliding and windsurfing. Surf schools are open all year around and people also come for other active sports like skydiving, tennis and cycling.
The locals are down to earth and welcoming to all visitors. Many coastal inhabitants still pursue fishing as a profession and live happily along the more contemporary peers who work in the service oriented tourism industry. Those living in more rural and mountainous areas still use traditional farming methods and retain the historical flavours of what the old Algarve was like.
Check out #OffsiteImmersive and join 18 creative professionals during 11–18 September, for a week of focus, collaboration, learning, playfulness and unplugging at this truly inspiring place that is the Algarve, in the southwest of Europe!
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This post was originally published on the Southwest Collective blog.